Is Moringa the new Kale?

No F&B outlet with a contemporary clientele can afford to ignore super foods. They’re packed with nutrients, can be delivered as beverage, salad or flavouring, and most importantly, they’re trendy. For the past few years, kale and matcha have ruled this market, but there’s a new challenger in town, and it’s quintessentially Indian.

Moringa oleifera is a small tree with long twisted pods. Its name comes from ‘Murungai’, which means twisted pod in Tamil. It is more commonly known as the drumstick tree. It is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, and has been used by Ayurvedic doctors for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of ailments. It contains seven times the Vitamin C of oranges, and four times the Vitamin A of carrots. It has significant anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. It can help manage cholesterol levels. According to Longevity magazine, it even has strong anti-ageing effects.

Not surprisingly, leading industry media such eHotelier, Hospitality Insights and many others have all ranked Moringa as one of the top ten trends to watch out for in F&B. In the US, the demand for Moringa has grown by over 200% in the last four years. Apart from the formidable health benefits, part of the reason for this is the versatility it offers. Moringa flowers can be boiled to produce fragrant Moringa Tea. Fresh leaves can be tossed on meat or salads to give a distinctive peppery flavor. In its powdered form, it can add a twist to curries and stews. From Moringa Bread with Mushrooms to Apple, Rosemary and Moringa Gin Coolers, there is no limit to the kind of food and beverage items that an enterprising F&B outlet can put on its menu.

Although native to India, this tree is hardy, and grows in almost any climate. As a protein rich, easily produced food, Moringa could be the solution to global malnutrition, making it something well worth supporting.  It’s much more than just a passing diet fad.